Population rise is proof positive we shouldn't be so pessimistic
If you have been keeping up with the stories that have made the headlines over the past 12 months, you'll probably agree that 2016 has been a year to forget. At home and abroad, many bad things have happened. An ominous sense about the state of the world has heightened over the course of 2016. There is more reason now to believe that the centre isn't holding than there was at the beginning of the year.
But if dark clouds have gathered, there have also been plenty of positives in 2016. As we enter the festive season, it is worth accentuating these. Here are six happy trends from home and abroad that give cause for cheer about the state of the world as Christmas approaches.
Population has long been an important indicator of national vitality. Preliminary results released for this year's census showed the Republic's population surging over the past five years since the last census was taken in 2011. The population of the 26 counties is now back to where it was in the 1850s, just after the Famine but before more than a century of almost uninterrupted population decline up to the early 1960s.